Daryl and Carol Reunited, Part II – Did It Feel As Good the Second Time?
Listen, I can’t lie to you wonderful people. I love Carol and Daryl. I don’t particularly care if it’s romantic or not. Truly, I don’t. What makes me love them is their love for each other in the purest sense of the word. There is a mutual respect, a kinship of circumstances and a past emblazoned with trying situations that has only strengthened their bond. Right from the beginning they instinctively watched out for each other and tried to lift the other up when they were falling down; sometimes literally. They’ve saved each other’s lives, multiple times. So, it doesn’t matter to me if it ever goes the way of Rick and Michonne, I just need to see them in more scenes together.
It’s been a while. Way too long if you ask me, so when the story brought them within such close proximity, I had high hopes that we would be treated to another post-Terminus type of reunion. What we were given was something much different, yet still just as emotionally charged; one that started before Daryl even stepped a foot onto Carol‘s porch. After the scene in the mid-season premiere where Daryl and Rick learn about Carol’s fate from Morgan, I got the sense that Daryl didn’t necessarily believe that Carol just left. He knows her. She may go off, but it isn’t going to be far.
So, when he finally got confirmation from Richard, their common interest suddenly became null and void the moment her life was threatened. I don’t doubt he would try and save any of his people in that situation, but the look in his eyes when Richard was laying out his plan was purely ‘kill mode’; just like Norman Reedus told us he would be a while back.
The Warning to Richard
After leaving Richard bloody on the side of the road, Daryl heads out in search of the little house where is friend is living. Watching from afar as Ezekiel and his court speak with Carol for a moment, Daryl eventually makes his way to her front door. And, friends, this moment was everything I wanted from this long awaited reunion. I had wondered how Daryl would handle the notion that Carol left without a goodbye. I didn’t doubt he would understand, but I knew that the vulnerable part of him would also feel slighted and hurt. He’s been through one hell of a time, and not having a core member of his support system for so long has most definitely taken it’s toll on the usually surly crossbow hunter.
The Reunion, Part II
“Why’d you go?”
“I had to.”
Carol’s initial reaction when she opened the door, and the transitions between shock, relief, fear and love were all beautifully relayed through a series of expressions that were brought forth flawlessly. One of the really moving aspects of when Carol and Daryl are together, is the fact that they don’t need a whole bunch of dialogue. Throughout most of their scenes in this episode, their words were short and concise. Even later, when Carol is sitting by the fire trying to explain why she had to leave everyone behind, she spoke in abbreviated thoughts; staggered and blunt. They have a way of communicating and understand what the other needs, that can be marked as reason #145 as to why watching them together makes me have a whole lotta feels. Side note: that break in Daryl’s voice when he asks her why she left… this is Norman Reedus at his best right here.
Daryl Lies to Carol to Spare Her
Again, honesty is the best policy, right? Well, I was kinda pissed the first time I watched this through. I wanted Daryl to tell her about the atrocities that had occurred since she left. Carol is a core part of what makes their little band of survivors so damn tough. Just like Rick. Just like Michonne. Just like Daryl, and Glenn, Maggie, Abraham, and hell, even Carl. Point is, it only works when they work together. BUT, I understand why he didn’t tell her. Daryl’s love for her goes beyond his own needs and the needs of the group. He knows they need her, but after seeing her breakdown and explain why she had to leave, he just couldn’t put her through any more. He wasn’t going to give her the one thing that would make her stand up and join the fight. I believe that will come from Ezekiel, but more on that later.
The relief that washed over her face as Daryl lied was all the confirmation he needed that he did the right thing. I don’t know if Carol completely believes it to be the truth, but I think she’s going to convince herself that it is. After a quiet dinner Daryl leaves and heads back to the Kingdom. He hesitates and goes back to hug her, but it wasn’t just a hug of I’ll see you later. What I saw in that was the kind of hug only someone you love could give you to refill your well of strength. They get that from each other.
Daryl walks away, and Carol hesitates, for just a second, before going back inside. Carol, the queen of subtlety, the woman who became invisible, gives away a lot in her expressions when it comes to Daryl. He is the one person she can truly be herself and say what’s on her mind. I think she hesitated in that second for one of two reasons; either she just didn’t want him to go because she really doesn’t want to be alone, or she didn’t really believe that everyone was OK and wanted to question it.
Bonding Time and Short Goodbyes
No, this isn’t directly related to the #Caryl reunion, but does show a bit more about why Daryl decided keeping the truth from his friend was important. To me, it also showed that Daryl is contemplating Ezekiel’s role in this new dynamic, and how that will affect Carol. When Daryl is sitting there looking at Shiva, I feel like he is trying to get a sense of who the King may really be, and if he is someone that can be trusted. Richard mentioned Ezekiel cared for her, as does Morgan, and he’s got Carol’s seal of approval… and like Daryl says, “figure, any guy who’s got a pet tiger can’t be that bad.”
The last thing that struck me about this exchange with Daryl and Morgan, was when Daryl says:
Look, whatever it is you’re holding onto… its already gone, man. Wake the hell up.
I feel like Daryl said that not only to Morgan, but to help convince himself to do the same thing. Maybe he’d been hanging on to something, some ideal, some dream, that he now realizes is a moot point. Now, I don’t necessarily mean a relationship with Carol, because I truly don’t believe Daryl can even comprehend that in his life right now. Maybe just having Carol back in his general proximity… or going home to be with his family again. Who knows, but I do believe there was more behind that statement than for Morgan just to let go of his own baggage.
What Happens Next?
Well, I for one don’t think Carol will be in the dark too much longer about Glenn, Abraham and Olivia. (Yes, I left out Spencer. You know why). Someone on twitter mentioned the possibility of poor, sweet Jerry being the one to accidentally spill the beans to Carol. Not sure how that would play out, but I can see it being a passing comment either from Ezekiel, Ben or our new favorite Jerry about losing her people that piques her interest, causing her to go home and see what damage has really been done. Could it be that on her way back (because I do think she’ll go home eventually) that she runs into Daryl and Dwight mid-confrontation and has to save the day again after all? So. Many. Possibilities.
Until then, I will just watch the above clips repeatedly and enjoy the new #Caryl moments while I can. Yes, hope is on the rise, but I still smell death in the air. Not sure who’s blood will be spilled, but I can only hope these two apocalyptic soul mates are able to find their strength in each other and keep on fighting the good fight.
The Walking Dead returns Sunday night on AMC with season 7, episode 11 “Hostiles and Calamities”.